Home coming

Oh gosh, i have been away for so long.. Yet it still feels like home here!

I think my last post was at the beginning of 2014, it seems AGES ago.. I was dwelling on the subjects of raising small children and being confused and feeling clueless; of being in love with my husband and struggling with the daily juggle and trying to untangle myself a bit. About coming from a multicultural background and being a girl/woman. There were, and are still, so many things on my mind.

I turned 37 this year. My boys turned 8. They have been in school for the four years i’ve been absent here and yes, there is a correlation and a causality. I started writing this blog in what i know now to be the most challenging time of my life. I had this MASIVE mission of raising two little boys to be amazing men in the future, they were too little to understand anything, yet the programing and the resilience building is most effective when worked upon during those very early years..

I had recently lost my father after a very long dance with the Big C, during which he, and my mum, my sister, and me, were confronted with the biggest human riddle. How do you live a happy life when you know you will die soon, and you now you will suffer before you do. Should you fight or should you go.

My dad chose to fight and to stay for as long as he could and there was no doctor that was not surprised at his astounding will power and strength, and resistance to pain, and willingness to go through anything.. He did not want to die, but in the end, he told us himself, he was ready to go. He was only staying because of us and he need us to let him go. He died that day after we said goodbye. I was pregnant and we had hoped he would meet my baby. He never new it was two boys that were coming to fill the huge gap that he left in my life and in my heart. And fill it they did. Children have an amazing capability to spread joy, and their honest smiles and big enquiring eyes can fill any heart with joy. Then of course they are also very needy and love to complain and wine and argue, they can take down the strongest individual if they set their minds to it.

So time flies and my children were suddenly off to start school and I had time to put my plans in action: become self-sufficient. Create an income for myself, make it flexible as to be able to spend time with the boys after school, make it local to avoid the monstrous commute and beet the rush hour and be able to pick them up at least some days, reduce the need for external help -very expensive indeed-. I had been developing my jewellery making skills and was trying to set up an ethical jewellery brand to sell through independent retailers. My skills as an environmental engineer put on a shelf because i had little trust in fining a job ticking all the boxes.

So i did what most mums do when they can finally get a set of straight hours just to them selves: I reinvented myself and became an entrepreneur. Set up a limited company and together with a friend, opened an independent boutique on my own high street. Hopefully it will become THE place to find ethical and sustainable alternatives of clothing, accessories and gifts, my own jewellery included (it is also online now, so I may share about it with you some time).

And that is what I have been doing. It has been an amasing ride and it’s the reason of my absence all this time. But i’m back now! and hope to be writing more from now on..

Looking forward to go through the reader and see what you have all been up to..

xx

Mireya

p.s. Thank you Art of Housewifes, for making me come home.. you started following and that prompted me to come after more than 3 years!!

ok, lets put a face to it.. these are the guys that stole my heart, my time, my youth and gave the world in return.. yes they are boys and no, they do not wish to cut their hair

my boys.JPG

 

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Posted in This Latin-American woman | 3 Comments

Bolivia

Hoy escribo en español porque es tú día, mi querida Bolivia. (Today i write in spanish because it’s your day, my dear Bolivia)

 

Es extraño como te quiero, y como pienso tanto en ti. Como quisiera conocerte mejor, y que otros te conozcan. Eres mía y de otros 10 millones de personas, probablemente de muchas más porque eres un país que exporta gente. Y cada persona que deja tu suelo te piensa y te extraña. Los que no lo hacen es por que ignoran cuan tuyos son, o tal vez lo resienten, quisieran ser de otro país, de uno de esos en los que naces con un pasaporte que abre puertas y donde la gente no siente que tiene derecho de discriminar abiertamente por el color de la piel, el apellido, el estrato social o el lugar donde naciste.

Me encanta tu nombre, me encanta que naciste mujer. Naciste de la lucha de hombres y mujeres que dieron su vida por una nación propia. Naciste ingenua, sin saber cuánto te han codiciado desde antes de que nazcas. Con el oro, plata y estaño de tus entrañas se ha forjado la historia en muchas partes del mundo. Sin buscarlo tú ni tu gente, se han peleado muchas batallas en tu suelo y tu fisonomía ha cambiado tantas veces que finalmente se redujo a la mitad y quedaste país mediterráneo. Naciste democrática luego de batallas sangrientas y desde ese momento cada boliviano ha jurado morir antes que volver a vivir en esclavitud o en condición servil.

Sin embargo no nos dimos cuenta de lo difícil que sería romper con los esquemas sociales establecidos durante el tiempo colonial. No nos dimos cuenta de que, aunque se habían establecido hace tiempo universidades muy buenas, que prepararon intelectuales y profesionales muy capaces, el acceso a educación y condiciones justas de trabajo permanecieron privilegio de pocos por mucho más tiempo que el que se podría justificar en un país democrático. Y no nos dimos cuenta de que el mundo tenía los ojos bien puestos sobre ti y tus recursos, y que de maneras muy mezquinas influenciaría el curso de nuestra historia. Miles de personas fueron perseguidas, apresadas, torturadas, desterradas, asesinadas o “desaparecidas”. Dictador tras dictador se fueron borrando las líneas entre el bien y el mal, lo correcto y lo incorrecto, lo justo y lo injusto. Dejamos de tener charlas profundas sobre justicia social porque es muy doloroso recordar a nuestros muertos, los que sufrieron o murieron por abogar estas nociones, o porque es muy doloroso aceptar que fue tu padre o tu abuelo el que los torturó o hizo desaparecer.

Sin embargo solo un boliviano, o una boliviana, puede sentir el orgullo que siento yo al hablar de la democracia en su país. El boliviano participa, incluso si es solo para criticar, participa más que muchos otros ciudadanos, en las decisiones importantes que se toman en el gobierno. Campesinos, mineros, cocaleros y sindicalistas nos han enseñado que todos podemos ejercer presión. Si todos participamos es más probable de que las cosas importantes se digan, y se escuchen.

Si fueras mujer serias hermosa. Imagino que tendrías una postura orgullosa, la tez morena, los ojos grandes y un poco rasgados. Tu cabello sería negro, largo y ondulado. Si vivieras en el altiplano tendrías una casita de adobe y techo de paja, criarías llamas y tendrías tres o cuatro niños de mejillas paspadas. Si vivieras en la Amazonía tendrías una casita de pachiuba con techo de jatata, criarías gallinas, talvez una vaquita, y tendrías 4 o 5 niños chapoteando en el atajo de agua donde lavarías su ropa. Si vivieras en el valle, quisiera pensar que tendrías una casita en el campo, al borde de tus cultivos, con un canal bordeando tu chacra y un huerto de  frutales cercando tu gallinero y dando sombra para tus pavitos y patos, pero tal vez ya hubieras loteado tu terreno por que la falta de agua, el bajo rendimiento productivo y la incertidumbre del mercado no pudieron competir con el dinero que te ofrecieron por tu tierra.

En todo el mundo el paisaje cambia y así también cambian tus rasgos. Cambia tu constitución y cambian los principios con los que se maneja tu gente. Te deseo en tu aniversario número 189 que tengas muchos, muchísimos hijos e hijas que te quieran y estén orgullosos de ti. Que te muestren cuanto te estiman con acciones que lleven hacia un futuro próspero, para ti y todos tus hijos e hijas. Que se entiendan a pesar de sus diferencias, que las heridas de tu pasado se curen con el amor y esperanza de tus niños más pequeños, que no han visto los horrores de las guerras y dictaduras, que no han sufrido el trato injusto y despectivo que pudieron haber sufrido sus padres.

No tienes ni 200 años! Para ser u país tan joven tienes una cantidad impresionante de cosas buenas que se han logrado en tu territorio. Con tu carácter amable, con la frente en alto, con 33 etnias y lenguajes diferentes, con 32 regiones ecológicas, con un pulso político muy fuerte que busca la inclusión y representación de toda la población boliviana, cómo no sentir pasión al hablar de ti Bolivia..

Posted in Bolivia, Latin American issues | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Letting hunger strike

I wish i could write more about things being accomplished by the beautiful women in my life and around the world, i would love to be researching about this on a regular basis. But this is my life, and in my life right now, the only subject that gets analysed and researched regularly has to do with parenting and the endless limitations i find myself discovering we have as parents, the economical and logistical struggles of being a family when you have no one to help you out.

This post was born out of my cluelessnes one day when my boys started crying because dinner was ready, literally. They both expressed with utter indignation and the classic whiny crying voices that they didn’t like what i cooked . To which i replied: how do you know you don’t like it if you don’t know what it is? But it was to late, they had felt such indignation they had lost their appetite.

I had to send them to their rooms just to clear some space to try to get my head around of what had just happened. Food is not punishment. My children should be thankful for the food i just cooked for them. Children should enjoy food, crave for it even.

I have very strong feelings about this. There are children slowly dying because they have no food. This very instant you could find children picking through the mounts of rotten fruit by the market in my home city, Cochabamba (Bolivia), and they will be smiling if they find a good one, or when one of the ladies hands them a darkened bunch of bananas. I remembered the little smiles that we got from street children when we left some food in our plate at the end of an alfresco meal when i was a child.

Of course my children have no clue of these things, and they shouldn’t have. But still, in my heart i feel i’d love it if my children enjoyed each and every meal they had, because food is a good thing, and my food is delicious! 😉

So that’s why i have decided to let hunger strike at our home. I see it as a gift for my boys. I’ll let them play and play until they get a little bit grumpy and start having squabbles. I’ll know it is because they are hungry, but i’ll let them discover that themselves..

I always struggle to find pictures to go with the posts so i’ll leave you with some art from my dynamic duo 🙂 love, M.

Batman in his bed, by Matias

Batman in his bed, by Matias

Upsi Daisy, by Nico

Upsy Daisy, by Nico

Posted in Poverty, This Latin-American woman | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Becoming untangled

I feel like this is what i have been trying to do for a while now: detangling, detangling, detangling. I pull from one end of the thread and the knot just worsens on the other. The tangle is so bad that after a couple of days i come to the conclusion that this mess just needs to be left alone. Then a couple of days later i find i’m again trying to untangle myself a bit, in my head it goes like this: “ok, so.. why am i doing this? Is this what i should be doing right now? are you sure there is nothing else in immediate need of attention right now? Can we really afford me doing this? Should i not better be doing this other thing to make sure this and that get done on time? Am i going to have to do this by myself or was he not working late today? Should i maybe postpone this for a week or two.. till this other thing is sorted? or maybe until after the holidays then?

So this post is the first of a series of posts dedicated to help me keep track of the bits that have been given a shot at untangling, i might call it “being x”

Here are some things that currently keep me busy “being”..

Trying to figure out how to be a good, patient, relaxed and involved mummy to my twins Matias and Nicolas (4 now). Love and laughter come VERY naturally at home, but so do bouts of shouts and angry faces, it feels like everything I say when we need to get things done either comes with a warning or a time frame or a threat. I laugh and cry sometimes with way too little time in between than i would ever have guessed normal and I actually sometimes look forward to have both boys on time out so as to have a coupe of minutes of silence and an excuse to tell them to play in their bedroom until I say otherwise.

Trying to figure out how to be a good, supportive, caring wife. I am so stressed and tired by the time my other half and me see each other, that I find this a really hard one. It doesn’t help that his life is genuinely not easy either (he works long hours and the payment isn’t that great) because we both feel there is no point in sharing our burdens.

Learning the tricks to be an efficient house keeper. Not in a life time did i think i would hear myself say these words! I actually never consciously realised all the work that goes into having your own place nice and tidy when you share it with other people, half of whom have no clue of why there is constant need for tidying if they’re going to continue playing anyway. Or the ridiculous amount of cups and plates and bowls and plastic cutlery that needs to be washed even when the children spend half the day in school. Or the amount of time it takes to pre-wash the boys’ clothes, and how useless a washing machine can be if you’re not willing to do it. Tomato, mud, marker ink, even orange juice stains have evaded the total power of the amazing brands that i tried so far, not true that oxi-vanish removes these stains by itself, there has to be some serious rubbing involved.

How to be a good environmentalist. To try to get the stains out with the washing machine at least temperature possible. To keep checking if they finally started recycling grocery bags, or all the other clear plastics involved in packaging of products. To explain to my boys about the need to reuse, repair and recycle. To have them understand we don’t keep buying things not only because we don’t have that much money, but because we don’t need that many things, toys in their case. And that we shouldn’t add to the mountains of rubbish generated by people getting to much stuff. To make them aware of the inequalities in the world without making them depressed about it.

How to balance being an artist/desiger maker with being an entrepreneur and figure out if i can make a living out of this balance. This is actually what has been taking most of my child free time lately. It’s completely new and experimental to me and I’m loving every minute. It started with me pursuing a long love for stones and earrings and a very obvious but long closeted artistic tendency and has evolved into a desire to create a brand and a business to provide for a flexible income for myself while allowing me to lead the life i want. Yes this one keeps me awake a lot, probably to do with the fact it’s generating no income but taking up so much time and energy. I actually fantasize about working on the local supermarket lately.. Imagine the joy of a payslip!

Other things that are often on my mind are: what does it take to be a good daughter, a good sister, a good friend, a good role model, a good UK citizen, a good European citizen and a good Bolivian one?. I know.. i bore myself to death but i can’t help it, i tried!

Not bored yet? here let me try a bit harder: here are some of my other aspirations: to learn how to lead a balanced and harmonious life, to be a good nutrition oriented cook, to be the my own favourite travel agent, to be healthier and have more energy, to do more reiki and be more spiritually involved, to get my husband to be healthier -we both have very strange old people-like aches and pains, you can actually hear us get up in the morning, moaning while we stand up- to play football in the park with the children regularly and to teach them Dutch one day a week (we speak Spanish at home). To have them learn about South America, it’s geography, it’ people and history.

Yes, there is a lot going on.. a lot of balls in the air. But that’s life i guess, everyone i talk to feels they have too many balls in the air, even the ones without kids. If life is going to keep sending lovely balls for us to juggle better get proficient at juggling! it seams the balls are going nowhere and in my case i don’t mind it, but i’d love to feel a sense of being on top of things every once in a while..

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Let’s make blue a technicolour

Hello 2014, hello world, hello lovely people who read this, hello Latin American Women Wear Earrings.. A new year began and I hope for good and better things for all of us.

Firstly, because you are all so lovely, here, for your enjoyment two original pieces of art by my boys:

Boy in bed dreaming of a monkey and Lego instructions by Mati

Superhero by Nico

I wish i could give this blog more of my time because it really helps me grow and it gives me a strange freedom, even though I’m not good with words. I’m good with feelings and a good observer, very sensitive and very emotional. But i can also be very harsh. 

I have felt very VERY sad and alone in the past, and have felt many kinds of pain, from the silly teenage ones (which make you want to kill yourself) to the deep “i know you have to die and there is nothing i can do about it, i still wish you could stay with me, but i won’t be sad for too long i promise” kind of feeling..

I love living even when it hurts, and i think the reason is because i know that THIS is IT. This life, as this person, in this context, it is never happening again and it is all you have (It doesn’t matter to me much  if there is a heaven; i hope there is, although the idea of hell is just ridiculous to me). I know dying is not the worst that can happen. To be completely alone, to be completely dependent on others that may not care for you or may harm you.. there are things worse than dying. But if you manage to find help, and a kind soul to stretch a hand towards you, you can ALWAYS make it better..

If you are strong enough, you can change things, even if it means running away from home as a child, like many street children have; or leaving all your belongings and your children behind to get stronger and come back to re-claim them, like a lady i met in a village in the Amazon did. Life is not going to be easy and hard times will be waiting for you, but you’ll be living. You’ll experience your loved ones and yourself, and your environment; kisses, hugs, love, smiles, tastes, colours, smells, butterflies. Happy children and children that need your help are everywhere to be found. If you look with your heart you’ll find a good reason to live. The other option can’t compete because it gives you nothing. When you are dead, you are dead. You can always kill yourself, but the alternative might be interesting, amazing even..

Today i found these two videos and they touched and inspired me -hence the post-. The first is a TED talk from Andrew Solomon, it’s very honest and i think very helpful if you have a loved one struggling with depression (don’t we all?). The second is by Charles Einstein and is going to make you believe a better world IS possible.

1) Andrew Solomon: Depression, the secret we share (TED talks)

2) A nice video abut the ideal world that we know deep down IS possible:

You probably realised by now that it is not really about Latin American women wearing earrings, -which they do!-, but about finding things that connect the wonderful people of my beloved continent; i believe these things are the same that connect people all over the world.

So this year i want to blog about good things happening around the world and in Latin America. I’ll try to post more often but i could really use some help with this, so if you have a story or suggestions for me, or would like to write a post as a guest, I’d be delighted to hear about it! 

xx M.

Posted in Other worldly issues, This Latin-American woman | Tagged | 2 Comments

Happy New Year! Feliz Año Nuevo!

May 2014 come with bags and bags of prosperity, luck, health, joy, smiles, laughs, love, blushing, hoping, wishing, accomplishing, discovering, exploring, expressing and giving.

May we become better at forgiving, letting go, sharing, empathizing, understanding, giving in, letting pass, breathing in and letting be.

May there be more balance in the world, of money, of power, of the benefits of trade, of the access to justice, and the feeling of safety, and the access to help.

May more people care. May more powerful people care. May powerful people care to learn more, and be able to understand better, and be compassionate and strong. May the few that have soooooo much feel it’s time to spread the joy.

May more people have access to clean water, enough food, good shelter and a safe environment to live and raise their children. May all the children be able to go to school, especially girls, and may it be safe for them to do so.

May it no longer be allowed and acceptable for children to be offered in marriage. May it no longer be thought of as unimaginable to go against the norm when it hurts people, especially children. May teenage girls all over the world be aware of the implications of getting pregnant and may there be universal access and encouragement of the use of contraceptives. 

May we all feel connected to each other, despite our differences, and become stronger, and learn to accept and care for the well being of others. We are all the same. We are all here now. We all feel, we all struggle, we all laugh, we all love, we all hurt.

I know, got a little bit carried away.. As long as i’m wishing i tough better just shove it all in there 😉

I do wish you all the very best, for this new year and any other following..

Thanks for reading the blog and for your comments, and for writing your own and sharing your experiences. I learn a lot form all of you even though i haven’t been doing much reading lately, i intent to change that.. It’s lovely to be able to share these things with you 🙂 xx

I’ll leave you with a picture of my darling Ekeko, who wasn’t able to smoke the fancy rolled tobacco, we did give it a try.. but then again, what if he just decided to quit?

My lovely Ekeko

My lovely Ekeko

Posted in This Latin-American woman | 2 Comments

Tradiciones latinoamericanas de año nuevo

En Latinoamérica existen diferentes tradiciones y supersticiones para atraer abundancia para el año Nuevo. En todo lado encuentras gente que quiere pasarla bien, festejar y hacerle saber al universo que están aquí, deseando cada año una vida llena de bendiciones y éxito.

Este año tengo ganas de festejar año nuevo entregándome al festejo de tantas tradiciones como me sea posible y pasarla bomba mientras lo hago. Así espero dar la bienvenida al 2014:

Escribir una lista de objetivos y deseos, puede ser tanto extensa como corta. La colocaré en mi zapato durante el cambio de año con una hoja de laurel escondida en medio. Ambos irán en mi billetera todo el año y probablemente mucho tiempo más.

Cocinaré una adaptación propia de un plato de frijoles tradicional brasileño (feijoada). Frijoles y lentejas están asociados con abundancia en diferentes tradiciones. El día que me casé las mujeres de mi familia y mis amigas más cercanas me arrojaron lentejas, arroz y dinero que guardaré siempre pues se supone que traerán abundancia a mi matrimonio. Hace unos años descubrimos una tradición similar para año nuevo: juntar arroz, lentejas y monedas en un frasquito al comenzar el año y guardarlo escondido en la cocina.

Se considera que estrenar un calzón rojo en año nuevo atraerá amor a tu vida, uno amarillo atraerá abundancia y verde se asocia con salud. Un año usé tres calzones, es difícil escoger entre  amor, dinero y salud!

Contar doce uvas por persona para comerlas mientras dan las campanadas de media noche es una infaltable. Puedes pedir un deseo con cada uva, pero debes ser veloz!

Mi tía siempre tiene una maleta lista para llevarla a dar un paseo una vez pasada la media noche. Pues le seguiré los pasos, me agarro una maletita y me voy a dar una vuelta a la cuadra.

Hay tantas supersticiones! Estas son algunas más que pude encontrar: Contar billetes pasada la media noche, subir escaleras para crecimiento económico o expansión de un negocio, pisar con el pie derecho al entrar a casa por primera vez en el nuevo año, encender todas las luces de la casa para que haya claridad y alejar energías oscuras, colgar un amarro de maíz, naranjitas y espigas de arroz en la puerta para atraer abundancia para el hogar.

Este año incluiré a mi querido Ekeko en los festejos. El Ekeko es el dios de la abundancia de la cultura tihuanacota (que es previa a la cultura Incaica). Lo representa un hombrecito que carga ofrendas y trae prosperidad. Me acompaña en este país y me acompañará en mis emprendimientos así que me parece apropiado ofrecerle un cigarrillo, que es lo que le gusta, y algunas otras cositas..

Y que tal tú? tienes un ritual particular para pasar el año nuevo?

There are many traditions and superstitions in Latin-America to attract abundance for the new year. People everywhere are trying to have a good time, celebrate and let the universe know they’re here, wishing each year to have a life full of blessings and success.

This year I’m really looking forward to give into as many traditions as I possibly can and have a ball of a time doing so. This is more or less going to be my ritual to welcome 2014:

Write a list of objectives and wishes, it can be as extensive or short as I want it to be. It will go in my shoe for the change of the year with a bay leave hiding in the creases. They’ll both go in my wallet the whole year and probably a lot longer than that.

I’ll be cooking my own adaptation of a traditional Brazilian bean dish (feijoada). Beans and lentils are associated with abundance in different traditions. On my wedding day the women in my family and my closest girlfriends threw lentils, rise and money at me that I’ll keep forever as they are supposed to bring abundance to my marriage. Also, a few years ago we discovered a similar new year’s eve tradition: put rise, lentils and coins in a container for the change of the year and keep it hidden in the kitchen.

It’s considered that wearing red underpants at the change of year will attract love to your life, yellow ones are associated with abundance and green ones with health. One year I wore the three pairs, it’s difficult to choose between love, money and health!

Counting twelve grapes per person to be eaten at midnight with each stroke of the clock is a must. You can make a wish with each that you eat, but better be quick!

My aunt always has a suitcase ready to take out for a stroll around the garden after midnight. I’ll follow her steps, grab my hand luggage and take it for a walk around the block.

There are so many superstitions! Here are some other I found: counting money after midnight; climbing stairs when the clock strikes, for economic growth and business expansion; entering the house with the right foot first when first entering home in the new year; tuning on all the lights in the house for clarity and to keep away dark energy; hanging a bunch of little oranges rise and maize stalks from the door or abundance at home.

This year I’ll include my beloved Ekeko in my celebrations. He is the god of abundance of the Tiwanaco people, who lived in Bolivia before the Inca’s. He’s represented by a little man that carries offerings and brings prosperity. He keeps me company in this country and will be accompanying me in my endeavours, so it seems appropriate to offer him  a cigarette , which is what he likes, and some other stuff..

What about you? Do you have a particular new year’s eve ritual?

Posted in My Latin American Women, This Latin-American woman, Tradiciones latinoamericanas | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments